Agent updates Marc-Andre Fleury’s status: ‘It’s killing him’

Matt Cullen scored the game-winner to get the Penguins a 3-1 win and get the a 2-1 series lead against the Rangers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have already received playoff wins from both their second- and third-string goaltenders, but the question remains: When will their No. 1 goalie take the crease?

One day Marc-Andre Fleury is practising in the starter’s net. A couple days later, he’s absent altogether.

Three Penguins goalies — Matt Murray, Jeff Zatkoff and Tristan Jarry — skated with the club prior to Tuesday’s Game 3, but none of them were Fleury.

Head coach Mike Sullivan has been consistent in listing Fleury as “day-to-day,” but many wonder why the netminder’s recovery from his second concussion of the season is taking so long. He’s been out since April 2 and has not even skated in the last two days.

So, how close is Fleury?

“He’s not there yet,” Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, told Sportsnet Thursday morning. “He hasn’t had a setback. He’s been progressively and incrementally improving on a daily basis.

“He hasn’t been getting worse. But he’s not 100 per cent yet.”

Murray suffered his own concussion a week after Fleury’s, but the 21-year-old returned to win Game 3 and will keep the net in Game 4 Thursday.

Perhaps it was a flick of gamesmanship on Sullivan’s part to call Fleury a game-time decision ahead of Saturday’s Game 2. Zatkoff started that game, as he did Game 1. Fleury didn’t even dress.

“It feels like it’s been forever,” he told reporters over the weekend.

Despite missing eight games in December with symptoms from his first concussion of 2015-16, Fleury’s regular season was spectacular: a 35-17-4 record, five shutouts, and a .921 save percentage — his best rate in eight years.

The performances of Zatkoff and Murray have helped Pittsburgh to a 2-1 series lead, but Fleury is champing at the bit to reclaim that crease.

“He has a tremendous sense of obligation to the team, and it’s killing him,” Walsh said. “It’s killing him.”

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